Not having far to go today we departed from Great Bridge at 1000 hours... we had to go through the Great Bridge Bridge and then immediately through the Great Bridge Lock.
We entered the lock at 1009 with two other boats... a sport fish and another trawler... wind was off our port beam so we opted to go to the right side of the lock as the wind would push us into the wall of the lock making it easy to secure ourselves to the wall. There was a south bound
trawler approaching the lock from the north as we were being raised up slightly in the lock... as the north gates started opening the southbound trawler headed right for the lock gates and was ready to enter... the lock tender hailed them and said that they would have to back off and allow the boats in the lock to exit before they could enter the lock... apparently he did not understand and held his boat in position just off the lock gates... the lock tender stopped the gates from opening and went outside to yell at this boat to back off... finally they got the idea and moved away... :)
After the delay due ot the southbound trawler we finally exited the lock at 1021 and the next obstruction was a bridge... Steel Bridge... only opens on the hour so we had plenty of time to make it and proceeded just over idle speed towards it... arriving in time for it's 1100 opening.
Next to come was the Gilmerton Bridge that according to all of our resources opened on demand... but monitoring the VHF we heard them announcing opening only on the hour and half hour... still no problem as we would be there by it's 1130 opening. Upon arriving at the bridge I hailed on the VHF and was informed that they would not be opening at 1130 due to the Coast Guard shutting down the waterway north of the bridge and that they would open as soon as the Coast Guard gave them the OK... appeared that they were moving a barge and crane off the docks just north of the bridge and would be blocking the waterway... thus the shut down... we did not have to wait long and at about 1125 the bridge hailed us on the VHF and said she received teh OK from the Coast Guard and would be opening momentarily... at this point there were four boats waiting to for the bridge. At 1200 we cleared the Gilmerton Bridge and continued north on the ICW.
Our planned stop was Smithfield, VA on the Pagan River... not having far to go and having the current with us I did not push hard... maintained lower RPM saving fuel and still doing 7 knots... NICE!
As we passed through Norfolk we could hear on the VHF several Navy war ships broadcasting their intentions of leaving the docks... and sure enough just as we passed the Navy yard there were tugs assisting one of the war ships off the dock... we took some great photos of it... We continued on and could see a second war ship ahead of us also leaving the docks... when we were hailed on the VHF by the war ship we had just past... it was now behind us and wanting to know our intentions and letting us know that they would be northbound at 6 knots... I told them we would be leaving the ship channel to port at the next red marker and heading northwest towards Newport News... they acknowledged and signed off... COOL... never been hailed by a Navy war ship before... :)
We soon exited the ship channel and were headed up the James River towards the Pagan River and Smithfield, VA. As we approached Newport News we had a large ship directly on our stern... we were out of the ship channel but the size of these ships is overwhelming when they are close to you... soon three tugs passed us and came along side the ship to aid it up the channel and into docks at Newport News.
It was not long before we heading up the Pagan River towards Smithfield... it was an hour before low tide and the depths of the channel off the James into Pagan are about 7 feet... once in to the Pagan River most of the channel is 12 feet plus except for one stretch that is very shallow... we had to go at idle speed across it.. 6 feet... 5.9... 5.8... 5.7... 5.6... 5.5... depth sounder stops reading the depth and flashed LAST over and over again... we did not hit the bottom but it's always a little scary when this happens... across the 1/2 mile stretch and soon the depth sounder started reading again and soon it was 12 feet deep again... :)
We approached location we would be docking at... the next door neighbor of Wayne and Judy McPhail... normally when in this area we anchor behind Wayne and Judy's home... however, due to a gracious offer from their neighbor to use his dock... always nice to be at a dock.
As we approached we could see Judy waving to us from the dock... she had left work a little early to meet us and help us with our lines... awesome!
At 1630 we were docked and secure for the night at approximate position N36º59.557', W076º37.455'.
We will be staying here for a couple of days to visit with Wayne and Judy... take care of some business and just relax.
Today we traveled for 6 hours and 30 minutes covering 35 nautical miles averaging 5.4 knots.